Theatre Review: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s THE SLEEPING BEAUTY – The Lowry, Salford

Birmingham Royal Ballet's SLEEPING BEAUTY

Birmingham Royal Ballet once again captivate with their detailed revival of THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

When Sir Peter Wright’s production of THE SLEEPING BEAUTY for Birmingham Royal Ballet first hit the stage in 1984, it was acclaimed as one of the best in the world. 34 years later, the opulent ballet continues to captivate audiences worldwide, remaining a cornerstone of the repertory.

Based on the classic fairy tale, THE SLEEPING BEAUTY tells the story of the beautiful Princess Aurora who falls into a deep, enchanted sleep at the curse of the evil Fairy Carabosse. The good Lilac Fairy is unable to lift the curse, but manages to alter it so Aurora sleeps for a hundred years, only awakening when she is kissed by a handsome prince.

With its opulent gold, bronze and marble court set, enchanting costume design and Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s stunning production of THE SLEEPING BEAUTY is classical ballet at its finest.

Unlike many modern interpretations, Wright’s version is as true to the original as can possibly be, following much of Marius Petipa’s original choreography. There is a strong emphasis on mime here, as well as a great deal of hopping en pointe for the women. The ensemble is also strong with the male dancers in particular standing out thanks to their breath-taking strength and remarkably fast pirouettes.

Birmingham Royal Ballet's SLEEPING BEAUTY

The role of Princess Aurora is considered the most technically demanding of all the classical ballet roles but Delia Mathews makes it seem easy, handling the technically difficult moves with elegance, grace and pinpoint precision. Her mesmerising performance is effectively matched by Brandon Lawrence as Prince Florimund, who despite having a smaller role than that of Aurora, is the perfect prince thanks to his regal demeanour and technical brilliance.

Elsewhere, Nao Sakuma impresses as the darkly glamorous as Carabosse, her elaborate, bold movements in sharp contrast to those of Jenna Roberts as the serene Lilac Fairy, who glides across the stage in her flowing gown.

Add in Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score, performed beautifully by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more detailed or memorising revival of Petipa’s famous ballet. Birmingham Royal Ballet captivate once more.

5 out of 5 stars

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s THE SLEEPING BEAUTY runs at The Lowry until 3 March 2018